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Halina Hladysz, M.S.
Clinical Herbalist
Member American Herbalist Guild
Master of Holistic Healing

Phone: 605.718.5719
Rapid City, SD 57702

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Journal Articles

  Nutrition For Your Heart - Part 1
  Nutrition For Your Heart - Part 2
  Arthritis and Joint Damage - Slow, Stop or Reverse - Part 1
  Arthritis and Joint Damage - Slow, Stop or Reverse - Part 2
  Constipation - Part 1
  Constipation - Part 2
  Echinacea - Natural Remedy To Protect Against Flu and Cold
  Prevent Flu and Common Colds with Herbs
  When Counting Sheep Will Not Do …
  Paw Paw – A Miracle Herb in Killing Tumor Cells
  Milk Thistle – A Healing Plant From The Bible For Our Times
  Hormone Replacement Therapy Revisited
  Kava Kava - The Rescue Herb For Stress. Kava controversy.
  Noni Juice: Pain Killer, Immune System Restorer, Anti-aging Agent

Nutrition For Your Heart - Part 1

I remember listening to an interview with the author of a cookbook with baking recipes based on early 20th century formulas. Yes, they all contained plenty of eggs and real butter, as I remember how my grandma baked. What was interesting to learn from that same interview was that during those times the physicians who specialized in cardiovascular disease had only a few patients and were barely able to support themselves financially; heart problems were rare. And this was happening when people freely consumed foods which currently are forbidden under the notion that this cuisine damages our hearts and cardiovascular systems.

But, today – in spite of removing eggs and butter from our diet – cardiac disease has become the leading cause of death in the United Sates. Surgery and prescription drugs, although effective, do not correct its causes. Science points an accusing finger at a diet rich in overprocessed foods and unfavorable carbohydrates, stress, a sedentary lifestyle and cigarette smoking, among other risk factors. Nothing will offset an unhealthy modern lifestyle; however, the use of herbs and other nutrients may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Hawthorn (Crataegus)
Hawthorn is one of the oldest known medicinal plants used in European medicine. By now it has a long history of use, confirmed safety and clinical evidence to support its cardiovascular benefits, especially cardiotonic activity. (A cardiotonic herb strengthens and tones the heart, improving its function and tissue integrity.)

Hawthorn is the most researched herb (in Europe) for cardiac support. It inhibits mild congestive heart failure; decreases an accelerated heart rate and reduces arrhythmias; reduces spasms caused by angina pectoris and other heart problems; dilates the coronary vessels, improving the blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart; strengthens the heart muscle, thus increasing the heart’s pumping force; reduces the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels; decreases the size of existing atherosclerosis (plaque); heals damaged capillaries; lowers mild high-blood pressure; significantly increases exercise tolerance, lessens the shortness of breath and post-exercise fatigue, reduces ankle edema; reduces the lactic acid accumulation in the heart improving the oxygen utilization; significantly improves stress tolerance; and prevents premature degradation of the cardiovascular system.

Parts used. The berries, flowers and leaves have been used. Clinical studies have been done mostly on the leaves and flowers or the flower/leaf/berry blend.

Interactions with other drugs. Hawthorn preparations may potentiate the action of digitalis; thus, check with your doctor to adjust your medicine.

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
Old writers tell us there is no better herb than motherwort for strengthening and “gladdening” the heart; for fainting and other symptoms of nervousness or weakness due to emotional excitement or illness; for use against hysterical complaints, especially palpitations of the heart when they arise from hysteric causes.

Although current clinical research is lacking, earlier studies demonstrated that motherwort is a heart tonic with a sedative action on the nervous system. It calms palpitations, tachycardia (excessively rapid heartbeat) and irregular heartbeats. It is a specific remedy for an excessively rapid heartbeat caused by anxiety and an overactive thyroid, and may be used in all heart conditions associated with anxiety and tension, including inner tremors. Motherwort has been approved in Germany by Commission E (the German equivalent of the Federal Register in the United States) for nervous cardiac disorders and as an adjuvant for thyroid hyperfunction.

Interactions with other drugs; contraindications. No interactions with other drugs are known. However, ask your doctor to monitor you closely and adjust your heart medicine. This herb is not recommended during pregnancy. No restrictions are known during lactation.

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)
Astragalus is an important traditional Chinese medicine which has been prescribed for centuries for general debility and chronic illnesses, as well as increasing the body’s overall vitality. Today, scientific studies have found astragalus acts as a cardiotonic, as well as an immunostimulant and an adaptogen (helps the body adapt to stressful situations and maintain normal function under mental or physical stress).

Astragalus offers therapeutic benefits for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. It helps the heart develop a regular rhythm. It reduces oxidative damage to the heart cells. It prevents platelet aggregation (blood clotting). Chinese physicians use astragalus to destroy Coxsackievirus B, when it infects the heart and causes an irregular heartbeat.

Interactions with other drugs; contraindications. Astragalus is not recommended for acute inflammatory, infectious states and high fevers. It is incompatible with immunosuppressive agents and is not recommended for the treatment of autoimmune disease or following organ transplantation.

Many other herbs are good for the heart and circulatory conditions, but a limited space prevents me from writing about them now. In my next article (May 9th) I will concentrate on nutrients which benefit a healthy heart and circulatory system.

You may purchase the following products at wholesale at
Hawthorn Berries in capsules (stock number 370-3)
Hawthorn Berries extract (stock number 1760-0)
Astragalus (stock number 40-1)

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Nutrition For Your Heart - Part 2

The American Heart Association reports that cardiovascular disease accounts for 950,000 deaths each year – this means that every 33 seconds an American dies of heart disease. Several people will die while you are reading this article.

The latest research indicates that inflammation is at the root of many deadly diseases, including heart disease. “Inflammation promotes arterial plaque which clogs arteries, often silently and without overt symptoms. The plaque limits blood flow, starving the heart muscle of oxygen. The heart becomes weak and scarred, traumatized by years of blood pressure fluctuations and increasing physiological demands – ultimately leading to angina or chronic heart failure, arrhythmia, or even sudden, unexpected death by a heart attack. As frightening as it sounds, heart disease is not a death sentence. In my experience, it is not only a treatable condition; it is one of the most avoidable and reversible conditions – with proper diet, exercise and the right herbal and nutritional supplementation.” (Gerald M. Lemole, M.D., chief cardiovascular surgery at the Christiana Care Health Services of Delaware)

In 2002 the Rapid City Journal published my series of four articles, describing one of the root causes of cardiovascular inflammation, Syndrome-X and the diet crucial for prevention and recovery from cardiovascular disease. In my last article I described a few herbal medicinal herbs important for healing the heart and cardiovascular disease. If you would like to read them and have no access to them, let me know and I will email or mail them to you.

Today I will concentrate on nutrients important for heart health.

Coenzyme Q10. I have been taking coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) for more than 10 years. I began after learning it was good for bleeding gums, and then I discovered that the chronic inflammation of gums is one of the risk factors for heart disease. So, I never stopped. CoQ10 is a compound naturally found in the body, but many heart patients have taken drugs (statins, beta-blockers and antidepressants) which eliminate CoQ10. With both age and illness, the production of CoQ10 declines. Especially after the age of forty, our tissue levels of CoQ10 are markedly lower. Low levels of this enzyme are consistently seen in patients with congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, hypertension and other CVDs. CoQ10 averts oxidation of fats, preventing the cholesterol plaque from forming.

It is important to keep CoQ10 levels strong with a quality supplement which delivers the enzyme in an oil base (three times more bioavailable than the powdered form).

Omega 3 fish oils. Essential fatty acids, a class of fats, are not only beneficial but essential to the heart and overall health. Omega 3 fatty acids, typically found in fish oil, lead that group. Consumption of the omega 3 fatty acids reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. It lowers LDL bad cholesterol and triglycerides, prevents heart attack, lowers high blood pressure and reduces blood viscosity and clotting. It enhances the body’s response to insulin in insulin-resisting patients (Syndrome-X).

Although omega 3 fatty acids are not produced by the body, they are essential to our health. Supplement your body with Omega 3 fish oil (in the ratio 33:16 EPA to DHA) with meals to stabilize blood pressure, strengthen the heart muscle and prevent inflammation and other cardiovascular problems.

Digestive enzymes. Not much is written about the role digestive enzymes play in the health of the circulatory system. In reality, though, they are great candidates to treating various heart and circulatory problems. More than 400 papers, mostly in Germany, have been written on the medical uses of bromelain enzymes extracted from the pineapple stem. For example, in one study people with angina who were given a daily dose of bromelain saw their symptoms disappear in four to 90 days, depending on the seriousness of their conditions.

Contributing factors to the plaque are undigested fats and protein which build up on the arterial walls. Taking high doses of enzymes (lipase for fat and proteases for protein) on an empty stomach will clear out this plaque in the arteries.

In my last article I explained the relationship between an inflammatory condition and cardiovascular disease. Proteases, the enzymes which digest proteins, have antiinflammatory properties and thus abilities to support, enhance and regulate the circulatory system. Dr. Maehden treated 216 cases of various circulatory disorders with enzymes. Ninety three percent completely recovered or had significant improvement. Such clinical proof and numerous other studies show the more frequently enzymes are taken, the quicker the body restores, repairs and strengthens itself.

Magnesium. “Recently, the medical community has taken a much greater interest in the therapeutic role of magnesium, especially in heart disease. It helps normal heart and muscle function, reduces arrhythmias of the heart, high blood pressure, anxiety,” writes Michael Janson. M.D. in “New Vitamin Revolution.” For people with heart problems, Janson recommends between 500 to 1,000 mg of magnesium a day.

Whether you suffer from cardiovascular problems or want to protect yourself from a sudden stroke or a heart attack, I advise you to discover the many benefits of natural herbs and remedies. You may be amazed by the changes you experience. When selecting the right products, select a company with a reputation of integrity, producing supplements of guaranteed purity and quality.

You may purchase the following products at wholesale at
CoQ10 in 75 mg softgel capsules (stock number 1895-5)
Super Omega 3EPA in softgel capsules (stock number 1515-7)
Protease, High Potency 180,000 HUT in each capsule (stock number 1876-1)
Protease Plus 60,000 HUT in each capsule (stock number 1841-7)
Hi Lipase 120 LU each capsule (stock number 1528-4)
Magnesium tablets 250 mg each (stock number 1786-6)
Magnesium Complex tablets 100 mg each (stock number 1859-8)

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Arthritis and Joint Damage - Slow, Stop or Reverse - Part 1

After the X-rays and testing were done, the verdict communicated to Dr. Bob Arnot by his orthopedic surgeon was to give up skiing, tennis and running. His hip joint was badly damaged and his knee joint was “overloaded.” That was an unimagined sentence for Arnot who had lived for such sports as ski racing, kayaking, rowing, running, swimming and mountain climbing. Unfortunately, he knew when his hips would freeze after a brief hike and a deep aching pain would follow one-mile walk, he no longer was free to participate in his favorite sports. Wear-and-tear arthritis, otherwise known as osteoarthritis, was the diagnosis, for which traditional medicine had nothing to offer until his body was ready for a joint replacement.

Osteoarthritis and arthritis. There are two ways to damage joints. (1) Osteoarthritis (wear-and-tear arthritis) is a joint problem initiated by mechanical damage, which, in term, triggers chemical reactions within a joint, causing its destruction. (2) Arthritis is a joint problem which primarily stems from metabolic, inflammatory causes. Today and in my next article (November 8th) I will provide several suggestions for joint restoration in both conditions.

Osteoarthritis (mechanical damage to joints) – how it happens. The American Podiatric Medical Association estimates that the average American takes 8,000 – 10,000 steps a day. When our feet land hard and fast on a walking surface, it creates a shock to our joints (knees and hips) which leads to microdamage of these joints and stiffening of tendons and muscles each time we take a step. Furthermore, when we do not flex our knees at the exact moment when our feet hit the ground, we cause more damage. Over time, severe joint damage occurs in both – knees and hips.

Osteoarthritis – how to remedy
1. Strengthen the muscles and improve their motion range. The popular belief is that the cartilage and joint fluid have shock-absorbing capacity, but it is not so. Our well-coordinated, well-controlled muscle movement provides maximum active shock absorption. Feet, if used properly, are additional shock absorbers. Arnot, in his book “Wear and Tear, Stop the Pain and Put the Spring Back in Your Body,” recommends specific Hatha Yoga exercises for permanent pain relief. Yoga works well because it strengthens and coordinates the muscles which control joints, protecting them from sudden impact and harsh movements. Refer to his book for details.

2. Wear proper footwear. To avoid the impact of the heel strike, wear high-tech running or walking shoes with proper cushioning and motion control. Even though the technology of shoe making has improved dramatically, there is still no scientific way to determine which shoe is best for a particular person. Try several shoes at a store and take your final selections to a gym where you can try them on the treadmill. Determine which pair is best for you by the way they make your feet feel.

3. Walk slowly. When we drive fast on a bumpy dirt road in a car with no suspension, our car becomes rapidly damaged and our body feels the impact of each bump. When we slow down the car, the damage to the car and the body is minimal. The same happens to our joints: when we walk slowly, we reduce the impact of heel strike and – at the same time – reduce the joint damage.

4. Flex your knees as you land. When our knees are straight and locked as we land, there is little shock absorption, and the damaging impact on the joints is high. In contrast, when we bend our knees at the time of heel strike, the cushion is created which minimizes the damage.

5. Walk on ground. Walking on concrete or asphalt surfaces increases the harshness of the joints’ impact, causing their damage. Walking on ground or other soft surfaces prevents a hard landing.

Arthritis (metabolic damage to joints) – how it happens. The cells in our body require a specific stable environment (BioTerrain) surrounding them to maintain their functions. For example, this environment must maintain a body temperature of 98.6 deg. F; cells must be bathed in a proper amount of body fluids; these fluids must have a proper acid/alkaline balance and a proper concentration of minerals. Physiologists call such relative stability homeostasis or BioBalance.

The relatively new science of BioTerrain explains that disease is the body’s compromised internal environment, in other words unbalanced BioTerrain. When this BioTerrain becomes predominantly acid, inflammation sets in the tissues and for many, it leads to the destruction of joints – arthritis. This over-acidification of the body fluids and tissues is caused by consumption of too many acid-forming foods, poor digestion, stress and other negative emotions, pollution, chemically treated water, drugs.

Supplements and diet for both types of arthritis. In my November article I will describe natural supplements and necessary dietary changes to slow, stop or reverse both types of arthritis and provide Dr. Arnot’s “rest of the story.”

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Arthritis and Joint Damage - Slow, Stop or Reverse - Part 2

When driving back from a recent trip, my husband and I were listening to the radio. “The major drain on the American Health Care System remains arthritis,” thundered Paul Harvey. I wasn’t aware of this fact when the idea came to me to write about reversing joint damage with natural remedies. A popular belief states that joint damage is irreversible; it is not so.

Dr. Bob Arnot, author of popular books on natural health, reversed his hip and knee joint damage and writes about the process with enthusiasm: “Within weeks, I went from taking 12 Advils a day to none. I found I could play tennis again without the cruel dark ache I’d suffered from before. The leg spasms that kept me awake at night are gone.” (“Wear and Tear, Stop the Pain and Put the Spring Back in Your Body.”)

If you suffer from arthritis, try some of these remedies to overcome it naturally. See my October article for more suggestions.

Pain relieving medication – not a good idea for long-term use. Living with constant, nagging pain is impossible; however, swallowing daily large quantities of painkillers is not the best solution, either. A Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center study concluded, “Pain may cause patients to alter how they perform activities to decrease the loads on the joints.” In other words, when we decrease the pain, we overload the joints already weakened by arthritis, increasing their damage. In addition, most painkillers, when used long term, cause side effects such as gastrointestinal (GI) complications which may even lead to death.

Supply the body with nutrients which build joint cartilage. Clinical trials, published in the prestigious medical journal “Lancet,” prove that supplementation with glucosamine, a key component of cartilage production and maintenance, improves joint mobility; relieves pain, swelling and other symptoms of arthritis and promotes healing and regeneration of the affected joints.

Another nutrient, chondroitin, a major component of joint cartilage, draws and maintains fluids within the cartilage. It improves joint function and mobility and reduces pain and inflammation.

Organic sulfur, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), is an essential structural component of all connective tissue, including cartilage. In studies, MSM has shown to relieve inflammation and arthritic pain.

If your arthritic joint damage is severe, purchase all these products separately and take large dosages (as recommended on labels). Otherwise, look for products which combine all of these nutrients.

Antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients which slow oxidative damage to the cartilage. Supplement with vitamins C, D and E and plant-derived antioxidants. Examples of plant-derived antioxidants are proanthocyanidins derived from grape seeds and maritime pine bark (product Grape Seed Extract), or compounds xanthones present in the fruit and peel of mangosteen (product Thai-Go juice).

Natural pain relieving supplements. If you need to relieve pain, especially temporarily, products containing Nexrutine™ (made by Next Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) may be the answer. Nexrutine™, a natural extract derived from the philodendron plant, has been proven in studies to be as effective in reducing pain and inflammation as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Tylenol, aspirin, and Advil. Similar to NSAIDs, Nexrutine™ inhibits the COX-2 enzyme activity which causes inflammation although, unlike NSAIDs, it protects the stomach and GI lining.

Look for a supplement containing Nexrutine™, such as Triple Relief, containing, in addition to Nexrutine™, two herbs – boswellia and willow bark. Triple Relief is very effective in relieving arthritic pain, as well as other inflammatory pains, such as muscle pain in fibromyalgia sufferers.

Boswellia comes from Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine and is best valued for its anti-inflammatory action. It also inhibits the breakdown of connective tissue, increases blood supply to the joints and improves cartilage structure.

Willow bark therapeutically acts in a similar manner to aspirin; it is an anti-inflammatory and a pain-relieving herb.

Topical pain relieving creams. EverFlex Pain Cream, containing a unique combination of cetylated fatty acid esters, menthol and MSM, has been highly praised by my clients as a fast-acting muscle and joint pain-relieving remedy. Cetylated fatty acid esters help promote joint mobility and flexibility. MSM relieves pain and inflammation, while menthol is an approved active ingredient in many pain-relieving topical creams.

Diet. Other nutrients are needed for joint function and repair. The best sources of all of them are non-starchy vegetables and fruits. Increase their consumption, cutting down on highly processed foods.

If your arthritis stems from metabolic causes rather than wear-and-tear, you may have to eliminate allergy foods. Many people are sensitive to all nightshade vegetables (eggplant, tomatoes and potatoes), so eliminate them completely and see if this helps you. Another common allergy is gluten (wheat, rye, oats and barley).

You may purchase the following products at wholesale at
EverFlex tablets contain glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM (stock number 925-5)
Glucosamine capsules (stock number 903-4)
Chondroitin capsules (stock number 1811-5)
MSM tablets (stock number 4059-4)
Triple Relief capsules (stock number 1851-3)
EverFlex pain cream (stock number 3535-6)

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Constipation - Part 1

“The Curse of Constipation,” “The Crisis No One Wants to Talk About,” “Destruction of Health Begins in Colon,” “I Was Poisoned by My Body… I Have a Gut Feeling You Could Be Too!” These are a few titles of books or chapters in books referring to the health of the large intestine. They do not sound appealing, do they? And perhaps the unattractiveness of the subject has prevented me for many years from writing about the colon. Constipation and other colon problems are not romantic, and we shy away from talking about them.

What prompted me to write this article was a compelling true story of a medical doctor whose lecture I attended last year. This young man, when he was 33 years old, underwent dramatic surgery for the removal of his entire large intestine. Ever since then his life has been radically altered. He always has to be close to the bathroom. His love for camping trips and outdoor recreation had to be curtailed. Restful night sleep is long time gone due to stool incontinence. After his youngest child was potty trained, his family used to tease him, “Everyone is out of diapers now…except dad.” This gripping reality shows how severe the consequences of the neglected colon can be.

For the past few years this physician, Dr. Michael Cutler, has been on a mission. He realizes that millions of Americans do not understand the relationship between nutrition and colon health. They do not understand that indigestion, constipation, diarrhea and heartburn are not just inconveniences. They are warning signs. These ailments are our body’s way of telling us that something is wrong. Cutler teaches us that neglecting our colon health may yield to polyps, cancer, bleeding, Crohn’s disease, allergies or many other serious complications or illnesses.

After what I just wrote, you may think, “This doctor’s case is just an isolated one. I do not have any colon problems; let me go on with my life.” What if I “impress” you with statistics? Americans spend 750 million dollars a year on harsh laxatives. Physicians write more than 1,200,000 prescriptions annually for constipation complexes. Nearly every man, woman and child living today in a westernized society and eating a typical westernized diet constipates. I can hear many voices of indignation, opposing my last statement. Many of my clients, when asked how many bowel movements a day they have, do not respond with a straightforward answer. They usually say, “I have no problem; I am regular.” Yet, according to my knowledge, they are not.

What is constipation? A misconception exists about what constitutes constipation. People are under the impression that – when they have a bowel movement once a day or every few days and it is “normal” for them – they are normal and healthy. They do not realize they have a problem which may lead to a serious disease, including cancer. If we have three meals and a few snacks a day and eliminate once daily or less, where is the missing waste material? Imagine all the meals you have eaten, let’s say after two days; you are retaining waste from six full meals plus snacks in your colon at one time.

Frequency is not the only factor we must consider. Excessively long intestinal-transient time signifies constipation as well. A healthy person should have all his meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) in a progressive mode of elimination, moving them consistently and smoothly through the gastrointestinal tract, exiting within 12-16 hours of the original consumption. To check for your transit time, eat an identifiable food, such as beets or corn and watch to see how long it takes for your body to excrete all of it. More than 24 hours is cause for concern.

Symptoms associated with constipation. Other symptoms connected with constipation are a foul-smelling stool (it indicates rotten, fermented matter); stools not well formed (it usually indicates poor digestion if stools are shorter than 6 inches in length); a floating stool, greasy in appearance (it indicates a malabsorption of fats); tightly compacted and hard stool (it indicates likely a lack of fiber and essential fatty acids); dark stools (healthy fecal matter is medium brown; dark matter indicates it is old and rotten; black matter likely indicates that blood is in it).

Health problems linked to constipation. Individuals who constipate have other health problems, especially fatigue, gas, bloating, abdominal discomfort, predisposition to skin conditions, allergies, anxiety, depression, headaches, low back pain, insomnia, less mental energy, maldigestion and nutrient deficiencies. They heal slowly. They may develop serious illnesses, including hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome and colon cancer. Constipating women develop female disorders because constipation causes reabsorption of estrogen, increasing estrogen-related problems, i.e. painful breasts, PMS, endometriosis, infertility and breast cancer.

Persistent constipation is a signal that you need to evaluate your life habits and address them. In my July article I will provide remedies to overcome this condition.

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Constipation - Part 2

I was startled by what Julie shared with me several years ago when she stopped by my herbal store. She eliminated stools only once every three weeks and was advised by others that it was normal. I was glad she finally listened to her instinct which was alerting her that the lack of frequent bowel movements was deviant and unacceptable, was a sign of an unhealthy colon and could lead to serious health problems. After we spoke, a new conviction was born in her of the necessity to address this issue. With various herbal and other natural supplements, we addressed the causes of her colon stagnation, and slowly her bowel movements increased and became frequent and regular.

In my June article I defined what constipation is, listed its common symptoms and health problems linked to it. Today let me provide you with the solutions. By finding and eliminating the real causes of constipation, we not only eliminate gastrointestinal imbalance, but we improve the health of every cell in the body.

Eliminate food stressors from your diet. Excessive consumption of nutrient-poor foods: sugars, refined flour (pastries, pasta, donuts, cookies), alcohol, caffeinated beverages (coffee, black tea, colas), table salt, saturated animal fats; excessive intake of animal foods, hydrogenated and processed oils; overeating of processed food and food in general – all result in the disruption of the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. That includes digestion, proper nutrient absorption and elimination.

A moderate, sensible and optimal diet includes fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts (not roasted and salted), whole grains, quality protein (fish, organic chicken, buffalo, eggs), and healthy fats (organic, cold-pressed oils; distilled fish oil).

Increase fiber intake. Fiber is the part of plant food which passes through the stomach and small intestine undigested. It keeps the waste material inside our intestines soft and bulky, keeps the cells that line the intestine healthy and normalizes the elimination time. Fiber differs by how it holds water; thus, it is classified according to its water solubility.

1. Insoluble fiber holds less water than soluble fiber. For example, whole wheat holds three times its weight in water. Insoluble fiber provides the bulk of the stool and helps maintain healthy stool transit time. Whole grains, vegetables and most brans contain insoluble fiber.

2. Soluble fiber holds forty times its weight in water. It is natural gel-forming fiber. It is the primary food source for friendly intestinal bacteria (probiotics) in the intestinal tract. Decreased soluble fiber in the diet leads to constipation, reduced growth of probiotics and increased risk of colorectal cancer. Oats, legumes and psyllium contain soluble fiber.

3. Other fiber type is pectin from apples and citrus. It holds one hundred times its weight in water. Pectin protects the colon against cancer.

It is recommended to eat on average 20 to 30 grams a day of a variety of fibers. Most Americans consume only 12 grams. To give you an example, one apple has about one gram of fiber.

If you do not have an adequate fiber intake in your diet, start a quality fiber supplement which offers fiber from all three groups. I recommend a product Irritable Bowel Fiber which is the most gentle fiber supplement I have found. Besides fiber from all three groups, it contains antiinflammatory and mucilage herbs to heal the colon.

Increase water intake. Ensure that you drink plenty of pure water to keep your gastrointestinal system hydrated. Coffee, soda, tea and alcohol do not count as water, even though they contain it.

Balance your intestinal ecology. Not enough probiotics is one of the primary causes of constipation. Friendly bacteria are helpful in encouraging peristalsis, the rhythmic muscular activity that moves along the contents of the intestines. Look for a supplement containing a comprehensive combination of probiotics, such as several types of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.

Massage the colon. Lie down and relax. With the three middle fingers of each hand massage your lower abdomen in little circles. Massage in the direction the waste normally moves in the colon: up your right side (ascending colon), across the top beneath your ribs (transverse colon) and down the left side to your pubic bone (descending colon). If you feel any tension, tightness or pain, work it out gently until you feel this area is relaxed. You may repeat this massage a few times daily.

Use gentle herbal laxative. If the above remedies do not help, take a gentle, non-habit forming herbal laxative. As opposed to harsh laxatives which may damage the bowel, these combinations are designed to restore a healthy tone of the colon, increase the flow of bile and other digestive fluids which stimulate peristaltic action in the colon, soften the stool and decrease abdominal cramping by relaxing muscle spasm. Look for formulas containing such herbs as capsicum, cascara sagrada, lobelia, turkey rhubarb, barberry and buckthorn. When I travel, I use LB-X (mild formula, designed by a famous 20th century herbalist, John Christopher ) or LBS II (stronger).

If, after you tried all the methods I suggested, you continue to constipate, then look into other causes, such as thyroid underactivity or resistivity, stress, poor digestion, food allergies, parasites, overworked liver, lack of magnesium, and a drug-induced constipation. Persistent constipation should be always viewed as a red flag.

You may purchase the following products at wholesale at
Irritable Bowel Fiber bulk (stock number 1334-8)
Psyllium Hull Combination bulk (stock number 1375-6)
LOCLO bulk (stock number 1348-4) – this product also helps lower cholesterol
Probiotic Eleven capsules (stock number 1510-1)
LB-X capsules (stock number 1226-3)
LB extract (stock number 1794-1) – this product excellent for children and elderly
LBS-II capsules (stock number 990-1)

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Echinacea - Natural Remedy To Protect Against Flu and Cold

In my last article, I promised to continue on insomnia and relaxation methods. However, due to a flu epidemic and a flu vaccine shortage, I will address this subject. Look for more on nerve relaxation at a later date.

“As usual, everybody in the family got flu, but I have been spared again,” enthusiastically announced my mother during our last phone conversation. She has been taking echinacea, a medicinal plant, known for its immune system stimulating activity. It works with this system to prevent minor ailments such as flu and cold. Immunostimulants are agents that stimulate the impaired immune system. Then, when your body is attacked by invading organisms, the immune system has the power to destroy them.

The name echinacea is italicized when we refer to a botanical name but not when we refer to its common name. Echinacea is native to the United States with several varieties known, Echinacea purpurea (also cultivated as an ornamental plant under the common name purple coneflower), Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea pallida. E. angustifolia is one of the most important medicinal plants of the Plains Indians from whom the early European settlers learned of its uses. Presently, Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs in the United States; ironically, however, almost all scientific research on this medicinal plant has been conducted not in the United States but in Germany.

A 1978 study by A. Wacker and A. Hilbig of the Center for Biological Chemistry of the University of Frankfurt found that Echinacea possessed an interferon-like activity in protecting cells against viral-induced canker sores, influenza and herpes without demonstrating toxicity. Other studies showed that Echinacea did not have to come into contact with viruses to inhibit them. Rather, they found that cells treated with Echinacea achieve viral resistance for a certain period of time and then become susceptible again.

What a great discovery and great news for our country which presently is faced with a flu epidemic and a flu vaccine shortage. If you did not get a flu shot but would like to protect your body against flu – try Echinacea. I always travel with a potent tincture of Echinacea root and at the slightest symptoms of oncoming flu or cold, I start taking it regularly, every two to three hours, and usually the symptoms disappear within a day or two because the body’s own resistance to the disease is mobilized. If the symptoms persist, I keep taking it for several days until they are gone.

When I owned an herbal store, many people, some of them elderly, would come during the fall and winter months asking for a remedy to protect their bodies against flu and colds. My standard advice was Echinacea. (Of course, I would also ask them to switch to a nutritional diet and take a good nutritional supplement.) The same advice I would give my mother, and she and many of my clients would testify how “Everybody around me got the flu but I was protected from it.”

What to buy and how to take it. All three species of Echinacea, E. purpurea, E. angustifolia and E.pallida have immuno-stimulating activities. However, herbalists are concerned about over-harvesting Echinacea grown in the wilderness. Presently only E. purpurea is cultivated; thus, it is advised mainly to use it until the other species become available in botanical markets as a cultivated rather than a wild-drug material. Some manufacturers blend all three species together. As a measure of a good quality alcohol-based tincture – it has to produce a tingling sensation on the tongue to have the most therapeutic value. Use only this type of high quality and high potency tincture. Use mainly root.

For protection against flu and cold, take one full dropper three times a day for two weeks and stop for a week. Repeat. Since Echinacea is a stimulant, one must be careful using it on a continual basis because in such a case it will weaken your immune system, leading to exhaustion.

At the onset of flu or cold, immediately take 10 to 15 drops every one to three hours for the first two days. Consult your physician without delay if your symptoms are severe.

Contraindications. Do not use Echinacea when you suffer from autoimmune disorders such as M.S., Lupus and Rheumatoid arthritis, where your immune system is over active.

Next article. Echinacea is not the only remedy that protects our immune system from flu and cold. I will expand on this important topic in my next article.

You may purchase the following products at wholesale at
Echinacea Purpurea 180 capsules (stock number 263-8)
Ultimate Echinacea – 2 fl. oz. (stock number 3181-2)
Echinacea/Golden Seal capsules (stock number 835-2)
Echinacea/Golden Seal – 2 fl. oz. (stock number 3180-1)

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Prevent Flu and Common Colds with Herbs

In a December interview with Larry King, Andrew Weil, M.D. declared - to the astonishment of the interviewer - that he never gets flu shots. Weil is a clinical professor of internal medicine and director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona's Health Sciences Center in Tucson. He received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, is an internationally recognized expert on medicinal herbs and integrative medicine and the author of nine books on natural healing. When asked why he does not get flu shots, Weil stated he takes herbs and other natural supplements to strengthen his immune system because, ultimately, our immune system has to protect the body from such invaders as influenza (flu) or cold viruses.

I am not in the position to validate or invalidate Weil’s statement; however, we have all read that this season’s flu vaccine does not contain the flu virus strain causing such a severe flu outbreak. Thus, even though you got a flu shot, it is wise to strengthen your immune system as an additional precaution. If, on the other hand, you were not vaccinated against flu, I strongly advise you to follow the steps I outline so that your immune system is prepared to fight any virus.

Echinacea. Last fall I attended a conference for herbalists, where Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., a physician and a nationally recognized herbalist, praised echinacea as a safe, well-tolerated herb for all respiratory system disorders (flu and cold belong to that category) as well as an immune system booster. I devoted January’s article to echinacea, so please refer to it for further information.

Elder. Elder (Latin Sambucus) is a small tree or bush common to Europe and North America. There are various species of elder: S. canadensis used as a medicinal herb by North American herbalists and S. nigra recognized as a premier plant utilized by the herbal medicine in Europe and most commonly used commercially in both countries. Both species are sister-plants with similar medicinal properties, used interchangeably. The flowers, berries, leaves, stems and roots have been used as medicine. I will focus on flowers and berries today.

Elder berries and flowers have traditionally been used to combat respiratory congestion. They are effective but gentle, therefore great for children. In England, adults and children often take a teaspoon of elderberry syrup to protect themselves from winter illness, including sore throat, as it helps expel bronchial mucous and relieve respiratory inflammation. In the event of a fever, elder promotes perspiration, thus helping to bring the temperature down. Berries are rich in vitamins A and C, both of which are known to strengthen immunity against disease. Recent research has uncovered active ingredients in elder which prevent the flu virus from taking hold. They inhibit the enzyme used by influenza viruses to penetrate and infect healthy cells.

Inquire at an herbal or health food store for different types of elder remedies. You may, for example, get dried flowers or berries in bulk to prepare tea. You may also purchase a ready-made tincture; I prefer a tincture based on vegetable glycerin (glycerite) that has a sweet taste – great for children. This herb may also be available in combination with other cold/flu herbs. Take as directed as a preventative remedy and at an onset of cold or flu.

Astragalus. Root of astragalus (Latin Astragalus membranaceus) is an important tonic in Chinese medicine, known for strengthening the immune system. It has shown antiviral properties. One of its constituents binds to viruses, helping the immune system recognize and destroy them. It also increases interferon production, which helps the body respond to viral infections, especially colds and flu. With strong affinity for the respiratory system, astragalus may be taken as a tonic by people who have a tendency for chronic respiratory illness and who suffer from a weak immune system. This herb may also be taken to increase energy and reduce stress. Use as directed as a preventative remedy and at an onset of cold or flu.

Eucalyptus essential oil. Several years ago on my long flight to Europe, I sat by a father and daughter – both coughing at me. Two days later, I was sick. I wish I had been travel-wise and had eucalyptus oil with me because it deodorizes and inhibits contagious microorganisms. When you are on a plane, each half-hour to an hour put a few drops of oil into a tissue and deeply inhale the fumes several times. This oil may also be handy in places where you are exposed to a large group of people, such as in churches, movie theaters, auditoriums and buses. Eucalyptus oil is a strong expectorant, making it an effective aid for sinus and lung congestion and sore throat. It also strengthens the immune system. Do not take internally; use only through inhalation or by external application on the skin.

Do not rely sorely on supplements to boost your immune system. Stay on a nutritious diet, get adequate rest, drink plenty of water and expose yourself to fresh air and sunshine.

You may purchase the following products at wholesale at
Echinacea Purpurea 180 capsules (stock number 263-8)
Ultimate Echinacea – 2 fl. oz. (stock number 3181-2)
Echinacea/Golden Seal capsules (stock number 835-2)
Echinacea/Golden Seal – 2 fl. oz. (stock number 3180-1)
Elderberry Defense caps (stock number 868-5)
Elderberry Plus – chewable for children (stock number 3300-9)
Astragalus (Root) capsules (stock number 40-1)
Eucalyptus BIO essential oil (stock number 3904-9)

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When Counting Sheep Will Not Do …

The topic of today’s article was inspired by Lynn Taylor Rick’s September 28th column entitled “So much for counting sheep.” Taylor Rick expresses her frustration at not being able to fall asleep with which I identify because – from time to time – I suffer from insomnia. To Taylor Rick and everybody who suffers from insomnia, be assured I feel compassion for you. If you are one for whom counting sheep is not sufficient, then try some of the known natural solutions that work for me and many of my clients.

What is insomnia? Insomnia is characterized by either the inability to fall or stay asleep. Many people experience insomnia from time to time when they have a major change in their lives. In contrast, other people live with insomnia for months and years – their disease is chronic. They lie awake anxiously, worrying about not sleeping.

Causes of insomnia. Many people who seek help for sleep depravation have highly sensitive nervous systems. They are addicted to stress, and their life is characterized by many other insomnia contributing factors, such as lack of nutrition, inability to relax, excess worry, anxiety, grief and depression. Other factors contributing to insomnia include some medical problems (chronic illness), some prescription or over-the-counter drugs (e.g. asthma medications, steroids, appetite suppressants and nasal decongestants), stimulants (e.g. coffee, tea or chocolate), a sleeping room that is too bright or noisy, frequent travel with time zone changes and electromagnetic pollution.

Insomnia may even be learned. That happens when – due to life circumstances such as feeding a baby or working a nighttime job – we have to wake up during the night. Many such people experience waking up during the night even after the circumstances have changed.

To achieve restful and rejuvenating sleep, you have to address all these factors, and combine treatment techniques.

Eat foods that support nervous system. A well-balanced diet supports and builds a healthy nervous system. Eat alkalizing foods such as sprouts, green-leafy vegetables, root vegetables and fruits low in sugar (i.e. berries). Include mentally balancing superfoods such as spirulina, bee pollen and nutritional yeast. Increase foods high in calcium such as dark-green vegetables, almonds (raw, not roasted) and seaweeds (kelp, hizike, wakame). Proper amounts of calcium in the blood prevent nervousness, irritability, muscle spasms, hyperactivity and insomnia.

Avoid foods that stress nervous system. Avoid stimulants such as coffee, other caffeine-rich foods, chocolate and black and green tea. Drinking even one cup of coffee in the morning may contribute to a sleepless night. Avoid highly processed, refined foods (i.e. white flour, white sugar, margarine) and foods containing colorings, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics. Stop drinking alcohol because it depresses the nervous system.

Take herbs which promote restful sleep. An herb valerian is beneficial for falling asleep and staying asleep. It has a sedative effect on the central nervous system, therefore reducing other conditions, such as emotional stress, muscle pain, tension headaches, anxiety, irritability and restlessness. It may even help in breaking dependency to pharmaceutical antidepressants.

Chamomile, passionflower, hops, skullcap, California poppy and kava kava are calming herbs that may also be helpful for insomniacs.

Find an herbal combination containing valerian and one or more of the other herbs I listed. It may be an alcohol-free, glycerin-based tincture or encapsulated formula. Beginning four hours before bedtime, take the formula every hour (1/4 teaspoon or one capsule). Before you go to sleep, put your herbal formula and a glass of water beside your bed. If you wake up at night, take ½ - one teaspoon of the tincture or two capsules of the formula.

The melatonin connection. Melatonin is a hormone secreted during periods of darkness by the pineal gland, and, thanks to its levels, we achieve restful sleep. Light, on the other hand, acts like a switch that stops melatonin production and interrupts sleep.

If you suffer from insomnia, it is important to sleep in complete darkness and minimize any night light exposure. Even if you need to use the bathroom during the night, do not turn on the lights. Put heavier curtains on the windows, and do not allow your spouse to read in the bedroom while you are sleeping.

If, after taking all these precautions, your sleep is still disrupted, then consider supplementation with melatonin. Take up to ten milligrams of melatonin half an hour before you go to sleep. Start with a lower dosage (two or three milligrams) and work your way up. For people who wake up during the night I recommend a time-release melatonin or take another two or three milligrams when you wake up.

Herbal and other natural medicine offers a wonderful start in overcoming insomnia and is especially helpful in the middle of a holiday season when we have no time to properly nurture ourselves to overcome stress, anxiety and a lifetime of negative patterns. If the natural supplements are not sufficient to restore rejuvenating sleep, then remember that all causes of insomnia need to be addressed. I will present further solutions in my next article, to be published on January 12, 2004.

You may purchase the following products at wholesale at
Valerian Root capsules (stock number 720-0)
Valerian Root Extract T/R (stock number 721-1)
Herbal Sleep capsules – contains Valerian root, Passion flower, Hops flowers (stock number 940-8)
Melatonin Extra 3 mg (stock number 2830-4)

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Paw Paw – A Miracle Herb in Killing Tumor Cells

When forty years ago Dr. Jerry McLaughlin heard his biochemistry professor at the University of Michigan saying, “When we find biochemical differences between normal cells and cancer cells, we will find a cure for cancer,” he registered this concept, and it became motivation for his entire life of research at Purdue University. Today, Jerry McLaughlin, Ph.D., a Professor Emeritus of that university, and a world-renowned scientist in pharmacognosy* may be satisfied with achieving his goal – he found a powerful herbal extract which selectively deprives cancer cells of the energy they need to feed their rapid growth and reproduction, without harming healthy cells.

Cancer is a devastating disease for which no absolute cure has been found yet. In spite of many years of research, cancer continues to be the number two killer in the United States. Every minute in our country a person dies of cancer (the annual death toll is about 550,000 people). It is unfortunate that both current cancer treatments, chemotherapy as well as radiation, are not selective – they act in the same way on all cells, not taking into consideration the biochemical differences between healthy and cancer cells. That is why modern cancer treatments not only destroy cancer cells but also damage healthy cells. Some of the possible side effects of cancer treatments include generalized weakness, hair loss, anemia, nausea, bleeding, infections and chemo-induced cancer.

Biochemical differences between normal cells and cancer cells. In 1973 McLaughlin, already working at Purdue University, received the first funding for cancer research from the National Cancer Institute. With this grant he received twigs of paw paw tree (Latin Asimina triloba) and started his arduous search for compounds which would inhibit cancer cell growth without injuring healthy cells. Since that time he has researched 3,500 species of plants and ultimately has come to understand how cancer cells differ from normal cells and which plant compounds cause destruction of cancer cells while leaving the healthy cells intact.

Cancer cells grow and multiply more rapidly than normal cells because they are better equipped to receive glucose, a good source of energy for fast replication. Also, cancer cells develop a widespread network of blood vessels to increase the rate at which they convert nutrients from blood into energy for themselves.

Compounds inhibiting energy in cancer cells. McLaughlin found that the paw paw tree, a deciduous tree native to the eastern United States, contains the most potent combination of 50 active compounds, acetogenins (long chain fatty acids) – which have energy-inhibiting properties and act on cancer cells in four ways.

(1) Acetogenins inhibit the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is the major source of energy for cells. Since cancer cells use energy at a rate up to 17 times faster than normal cells, acetogenins have the strongest harmful effect against cancer cells, causing their self-destruction, while healthy cells remain almost intact.

(2) ATP reduction in cancer cells stops the new blood vessel growth, stopping – at the same time – nutrient and oxygen supply to cancer cells.

(3) ATP is an essential precursor to DNA and RNA – genetic material or the cell’s blueprint which dictates how to duplicate. Lower levels of ATP terminate rapid cancer cell division.

(4) Cancer cells are often able to recognize and reject familiar chemotherapy treatment, before they are destroyed. This makes these cancer cells resistant to continued chemotherapy treatments because when the chemical enters a cell, the cell pumps the chemical back out. This pump is dependent on ATP: it stops when ATP diminishes. Thus, acetogenins enhance the effectiveness of standard chemotherapy.

What to expect. McLaughlin has found that the amount of acetogenins varies from plant to plant and month to month by a factor of 1,000. Therefore, in order to guarantee that a person gets an adequate amount of these compounds, he created a standardized extract (Paw Paw Cell-Reg). James Forcythe, MD, an oncologist from Reno, Nevada, used Paw Paw Cell-Reg before it was commercially available on pre-terminal cancer patients, where all standard chemo protocols were exhausted. Forcythe stated, “As a medical oncologist I affirm that paw paw represents a new class of anti-tumor agents, which does not poison the DNA molecule but rather inhibits the energy-producing molecule ATP of the mitochondria. It promotes cellular death of cancer cells. Paw Paw Cell-Reg is a well-tolerated product, which could be used either alone or as an adjunct therapy with many types of chemotherapy. I have seen very pro! mising results in a number of patients with breast, lung, prostate, colorectal, ovarian cancers and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

How to use Paw Paw Cell-Reg. (1) Always introduce any product of this nature under your doctor’s care. Currently, I have a family member who has recently been diagnosed with colon cancer, and her surgeon is allowing her to try this product before surgery takes place. This doctor will monitor her progress. (2) Paw Paw Cell-Reg is not a cancer-prevention product to be taken by healthy people. (3) All natural supplements that increase cellular vitality must be avoided. Some examples are CoQ10, all antioxidants, garlic, thyroid stimulating medicine and supplements, N-Acetyl Cysteine, SOD (Superoxide Dismutase) and 7-Keto.

*Pharmacognosy - the study of potential drug substances of natural origin.

You may purchase the following products at wholesale at
Paw Paw Cell-Reg (stock number 511-3)
Para Cleanse with Paw Paw (stock number 4081-0)

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Milk Thistle – A Healing Plant From The Bible For Our Times

It is impossible for me to go on a trip and not come back with a book about the healing power of herbs. So, it happened again, during my recent trip to my home country, Poland. “Guide to Herbal Remedies,” a book written by a Franciscan monk, Grzegorz Franciszek Sroka (famous in Poland for his knowledge of herbalism), caught my eye and accompanied me home. It may seem unusual that a monk would be interested in the in-depth knowledge about natural healing but – as history tells us – monks were the ones who kept alive herbal traditions during the Middle Ages when herbal knowledge became forbidden and was considered pagan. They grew plants in their monastery gardens, using them for healing.

Prior to the Middle Ages, in Biblical times, people knew of the healing power of certain plants and trees. The Old and New Testaments mention about 125 different plants, many of these – such as thistles – known for their healing abilities.

One of my teachers of herbalism, Steven Horne, a former President of American Herbalist Guild, when asked which herbs he would take after a nuclear or other disaster, pointed out that the herbs which had survived this disaster would have had the properties to heal the body from the damages that caused the other vegetation to die. One of these “hard-to-kill” plants is thistles. When God cursed the earth for man’s sin, He said to Adam, “Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you” (Genesis 3:18). Was it meant to be only a curse? Even though thistles create desolation with which they are associated in the Bible (they scatter the seed widely, resulting in a profusion of plants that choke all other flora), their rough characteristics help them survive the worst conditions. They remain standing, hiding their powerful storehouse of medicine underneath their thorns, while other plants are gone. Hence, we may view them as a blessing, also.

Milk Thistle (Latin Silybum marianum), one of the most recognized thistles in herbalism, grows in the Holy Land as in other places in the world. In America we may find it along the Pacific coast from Northern California to British Columbia. “The plant is easily recognized because of the white veins on its leaves, which give it the English name milk thistle. Tradition is that a drop of the Virgin’s milk fell on the leaves and marked them for all the time, when she stopped along the road to feed the infant Jesus, thus the names holy thistle, Our Lady’s thistle and the Latin marianum.”*

Records from the first century illustrate that milk thistle was used as food and as medicine. Plinius wrote that the juice of this herb mixed with honey was a remedy for “carrying off the bile.” Dioscorides wrote that a tea of the seeds could be drunk for snake bites.

Modern uses. All parts of milk thistle are nontoxic; the young leaves make delicious salad, tasting like the highest quality lettuce greens. Please, trim away the thorns from each leaf before consumption. The leaves and stalks may be eaten when cooked. The heads may be eaten when cooked like its relative – the artichoke.

Medicinally, milk thistle is known to protect and rebuild the liver. It has been commonly prescribed in Europe by physicians for many liver-related imbalances; it is their favored medication. Our modern environment is full of stressful chemicals, such as food additives and pesticides. These chemicals have to be processed by the liver in preparation for their elimination by the body. There are other substances, such as alcohol and drugs, which may injure the liver. Milk thistle is highly recommended for weakened livers from drug or alcohol abuse, for liver poisoning from foreign chemicals as well as other liver-based problems such as cirrhosis, jaundice and hepatitis. I have personally seen improvement in the liver function in many clients who took milk thistle for such serious conditions as cirrhosis and hepatitis.

A German pharmacologist, G. Vogel, in the 1970s presented the most compelling evidence for the effectiveness of milk thistle seeds against the poisoning from a deadly mushroom Death Cap (Amanita phalloides). He brought in from around Europe 60 patients suffering from severe Amonita poisoning and treated them with milk thistle extract. Dr. Vogel states that the “results ranged from amazing to spectacular.” Astonishingly, all of his patients lived even though death occurs in 30 percent of the Amonita poisoning cases. Death Cap contains powerful hepatotoxins that decimate liver cells in a short time. This usage of milk thistle has been known in folk medicine for centuries.

According to the physicians of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – Eclectics – milk thistle also benefits a congested spleen and lymphatic system. As a matter of fact, they viewed this herb primarily as a spleen/lymphatic remedy which acts secondarily on the hepatic system.

Where to purchase; dosages. Ask for quality extracts of milk thistle at herbal or health food stores. Use as directed on the label or seek advice from a natural health practitioner.

Let me end my article with a quote from John Heinerman, Ph.D., a medical anthropologist, “Isn’t it funny how ugly weeds such as the thistle can turn out to be beautiful life-saving swans?”

* An excerpt from the “Healing Plants of the Bible” book written by Vincenzina Krymow.

You may purchase the following products at wholesale at
Milk Thistle T/R (stock number 4071-9)
Milk Thistle Combination (stock number 4076-5)

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Hormone Replacement Therapy Revisited

“Some people would rather die than stop eating hamburgers,” wrote Eydie Mae in her book “How I Conquered Cancer Naturally.” Today’s article is not about cancer, though; it is about hormone-replacement therapy (HRT). Similarly to Mae’s observation about people living in the United States, my perception of the post-menopausal women may be contained in a paraphrase, “Some women would rather die than stop hormone-replacement therapy.”

Despite the well-publicized (in the summer of 2002) research results about the harmful effects of long-term estrogen with progestin usage, many post-menopausal women continue taking HRT, thus subjecting their bodies to a higher risk of potentially deadly heart attack, stroke, blood clots and invasive breast cancer. I sympathize with these women because it is easy to ask them to stop taking hormones, but if there is no specific alternative treatment provided to combat the acute symptoms of menopause – like endless night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia and mood swings – they choose hormones, even though this decision may prove to be deadly. During a conference for herbalists one of my teachers, Joan Vandergriff, N.D., shared that a woman physician recently asked her, “Would you teach me everything you know about herbalism and natural healing? I gave breast cancer to myself and to other women, my patients, through HRT.” What a dramatic and heart-breaking statement!

How to wean yourself off HRT. Physicians strongly suggest not to go off HRT abruptly because for most women there is a rebound in menopausal symptoms, including headaches. It is better to wean yourself off gradually over a period of time. Dr. Nananda Col of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, says slowly tapering off the hormones by cutting the daily dose in half for two weeks, then taking it every other day for two weeks, may ease the transition. See Vandergriff’s suggestion under item 2. in this article.

Natural Alternatives to HRT:
1. Suggestions for foods that provide essential nutrients specifically needed during menopause. A well-balanced diet supports a harmonious transition. Calcium-rich foods are essential because calcium prevents osteoporosis and helps reduce hot flashes. They are seaweeds; yogurt and goat cheese; seeds, nuts and their butter (especially almonds and sesame); most dark-green vegetables such as spinach, chard, broccoli, turnip greens and kale.

Foods rich in iron keep the blood oxygen-rich and help with combating exhaustion, fatigue and stress result. Iron is found in spinach, beets and beet greens, parsley, seaweeds, apricots, whole grains, oats, raisins, tofu, sunflower seeds and eggs.

Vitamin E is a specific remedy for hot flashes, muscle cramps and vaginal dryness. It is found in whole grains, cold-pressed oils, dark-green leafy vegetables, bee pollen and some nuts.

Spirulina (a blue-green algae) is a source of high protein, concentrated B vitamins and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). The B vitamins help build a strong nervous system, thus balancing mood swings and depression. GLA is excellent for preventing degenerative diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis.

Foods to avoid. If you want to make one change in your diet to stop hot flashes and night sweats, completely eliminate all sugars and highly processed starchy foods and limit all unfavorable carbohydrates to 10 grams per meal. Other foods to avoid: alcohol; caffeine; refined, highly processed foods; spicy foods and salt.

2. Natural supplements for menopause.
The basic program that works for most women is applying a natural progesterone cream (potency: 500 mg progesterone per one ounce of cream), and taking an extract of an herb black cohosh. According to John R. Lee, M.D., natural progesterone supplementation helps to alleviate most of the menopausal acute symptoms and helps to restore bone mass (provided the body has enough calcium). Black cohosh, an herb with an estrogen-like action, helps with hot flashes, depression and loss of sexual drive. Since it increases blood flow to the brain, causing headaches for some women, I suggest a time-release supplement such as Flash-Ease, made by Nature’s Sunshine.

Vandergriff suggests tapering off HRT over four weeks, while – at the same time – incorporating a natural, herbal and progesterone program.

1st week – skip the prescribed hormones once; take ½ tablet of Flash-Ease; apply ¼ tsp of progesterone cream (I use and recommend Nature’s Sunshine Pro-G-Yam 500 mg) once a day.

2nd week - skip the prescribed hormones twice; take ½ tablet of Flash-Ease in the morning and in the evening; apply ¼ tsp of progesterone cream twice a day.

3rd week - skip the prescribed hormones Monday, Wednesday and Friday; take ½ tablet of Flash-Ease in the morning and in the evening; apply ½ tsp of progesterone cream twice a day.

4th week – take your prescribed hormones twice this week; take 1 tablet of Flash-Ease in the morning and in the evening; apply ½ tsp of progesterone cream once or twice a day.

The synthetic hormones promise not only to alleviate the menopausal symptoms but also to postpone the aging process. Perhaps, in view of the recent findings of the harmful effects of HRT, we women should ask ourselves, “What is wrong with aging naturally?” My grandmother aged gracefully, exuberated vitality and inner beauty and served as a source of wisdom in our neighborhood. So now is my mother.

You may purchase the following products at wholesale at
Pro-G-Yam 500 mg progesterone cream (stock number 4936-5)
Flash-Ease T/R (stock number 81-4)
Vitamin E Complete 400 IU 60 tablets (stock number 1509-8)
Vitamin E Complete 400 IU 200 tablets (stock number 1508-5)
Spirulina (stock number 681-1)

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Kava Kava - The Rescue Herb For Stress. Kava Controversy.
Kava Kava Safe For The Liver When Used Responsibly

In America, an overscheduled and hectic lifestyle has become our norm; stress allures us, giving us a false sense of power, excitement and exhilaration. Yet, ultimately, it comes with a price of severe physical and emotional tension, anxiety and associated symptoms of nervousness, hampered concentration, insomnia, chronic fatigue, indigestion, weakened immunity and a general lack of well-being. Statistics from the National Foundation for Brain Research in Washington D.C. show that roughly 50 million American adults suffer from anxiety. Unfortunately, many individuals experience a progression of anxiety which leads to panic attacks. Such episodes can trigger physiological symptoms of chest pains, choking, dizziness, fear of dying or losing control of one’s mind, irregular heartbeat, sweating and trembling.

Commonly prescribed drugs for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders include benzodiazepines (tranquilizers) such as Halcion, Serax, Valium and Xanax. Unfortunately, there are critical side effects associated with use of these drugs (i.e. appetite loss, headaches, neuromuscular difficulties, psychosis, seizures and vision disorders), and they can be addictive.

Kava kava – an herb for stress. Fortunately, there is a natural alternative available for stress, nervousness, anxiety and panic attacks, known for its powerful calming effects – kava kava (piper methysticum). Kava (another common name for kava kava) is a member of the pepper tree family, native to Fiji, Samoa and other South Pacific islands where it has been cultivated and consumed for 2,000 years as an everyday recreational drink that relaxes the body.

In the United States, kava has been not only recommended by herbalists but also by physicians. Harold H. Bloomfield, M.D., a Yale-trained psychiatrist and a respected leader in integrative medicine, popularized this herb through his book “Healing Anxiety with Herbs” and through media, including 20/20, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Time and the New York Times. Thanks to the work of people such as Dr. Bloomfield, many Americans are becoming increasingly aware of kava’s ability to tranquilize, calm, relax tension, increase sociability and promote sleep.

How kava works. Researches are not yet sure how kava works; some of them theorize that it has a direct soothing action on an overactive amygdala, the brain’s alarm center. That would explain why it has such a powerful positive influence on the body that is chronically stimulated by stress and that is, consequently, locking itself under the influence of the physiological fight-or-flee response. Kava disengages the body from this adrenaline fueled stress response, telling the brain that there is no further need for an alarm. (Read my October and November articles to learn more about adrenaline dependency and steps to take to break it.)

Common uses. “Kava kava has been saving my life,” one of my friends – who suffers from a variety of emotional imbalances including severe anxiety and restlessness – shared with me last year. Kava improves mental functioning and mood without impairing memory. It is great for the treatment of stress-related symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia (it promotes deep sleep), emotional tension, excitedness and nervousness. When taken, it does not cause lethargy, diminished concentration or fuzziness, often associated with taking synthetic tranquilizers.

Kava significantly alleviates some of the menopausal symptoms, such as anxiety, depression and restlessness. It safely relaxes skeletal muscles; thus, it is great for headaches caused by a tense neck.

Dosages and contraindications. Taking kava is not recommended for longer than four to six months. The dosage for anxiety recommended by Dr. Bloomfield is 100 mg of kava extract standardized to 70 percent kavalactone (active constituent) content. For other than anxiety problems, consult a qualified natural health practitioner.

Kava is not recommended for pregnant and breast-feeding women, those suffering from Parkinson’s disease or anyone using other substances or medications that act on the central nervous system, such as alcohol, sleeping pills, tranquilizers and antidepressants. Caution is indicated when driving and operating heavy machinery because kava may affect motor reflexes. Long-term use of high dosages of kava may lead to a reversible dry, scaly skin condition.

Kava controversy. In March 2002, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an advisory entitled “Kava-containing dietary supplements may be associated with severe liver injury.” The Advisory is a result of 24 reports of liver toxicity associated with the use of kava products. These reports are not from randomized, double-blinded placebo-controlled clinical studies. In most of the cases, the consumer was using kava in conjunction with liver-damaging medications or had liver problems prior to taking kava.

A Duke University Medical Center study found kava to be safe when used responsibly. Donald Waller, Ph.D., a professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Illinois in Chicago and an FDA consultant, reviewed the toxicity of kava and found that “Kava, when taken in appropriate doses for reasonable period of time, has no scientifically established potential for causing liver damage.”

At this time, the FDA Advisory uses a precautionary measure, advising consumers who have liver problems or who are taking medications that affect the liver to seek the advice of a physician prior to using kava.

You may purchase the following products at wholesale at
Kava Kava Concentrate (stock number 405-9)

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Noni Juice: Pain Killer, Immune System Restorer, Anti-aging Agent and More

At the beginning of this year I noticed that one of my clients consistently purchases noni juice. (Noni, in Latin Morinda citrifolia or Morinda officinalis, is a plant that has been used for thousands of years in tropical regions of the world.) I carried this product in my store but—for lack of knowledge of the full healing potential of this juice—I rarely suggested it to clients in my practice (clinic). For the past several years, ever since noni juice has become popular on our market, I felt reluctant to try it because it was made famous by multi-level-marketing companies. This time, however, I was intrigued and asked my client how this juice was helping her. She so enthusiastically talked about all the health benefits she and her husband experienced that I decided to further my study and give it a serious try.

Testimonial. Let me share my client’s testimonial. I know that many of you will identify with her. “Before starting using noni juice I had fibrosis, which is muscle and joint ache. I had this condition so severe that I couldn’t even go for a walk. The pain was the worst in the morning. I also had migraines. Somebody told me to try Nature’s Noni Juice, so I did. Today I wouldn’t be without it! Two weeks after I started using this juice I could walk, I could exercise, all my pain was gone and even my migraines were gone.

“When I felt better, I convinced my husband to try the juice. He had severe indigestion with acidity and took Tums all the time. Today he doesn’t have to take Tums anymore. I need to share one more thing about my husband. He snored so hard that I had to sleep in another bedroom. After using Nature’s Noni Juice he doesn’t snore any more.

“We both use one ounce of noni juice every morning before breakfast.

“I need to add more to my testimonial: I found a less expensive noni juice in a plastic bottle and after one week of using it my joint pain and migraines came back. So did my husband’s snoring! I am back on Nature’s Noni Juice because it works for both of us. J.S. April 27th, 2001”

Countries of origin. For Hawaiians, it is known as noni, for Samoans and Tongas as nonu, for Tahitians as nono, for Chinese as ba ji tian, for Indians as Indian mulberry. Noni is an evergreen shrub that can reach more than 20 feet in height; it develops creamy white fruits the size of a small potato. While the noni fruit is occasionally consumed as food, nearly all parts of the noni plant have been used in folk herbalism for thousands of years throughout Polynesia and other tropical and subtropical regions of the world. For Polynesians noni is part of their lives, used basically in the treatment of every illness, such as arthritis, bacterial and viral infections, diabetes, high blood pressure, tuberculosis, malaria, immune system disorders, influenza, the common cold, healing of wounds. Every time someone has an “untreatable” illness, and everything else has been tried but nothing has worked, Polynesians reach for noni.

The abundance of healing abilities empirically discovered by the people who used it has recently been validated by scientific studies. Noni’s four main functions are immune booster, analgesic (pain killer), gastro-intestinal healer and cell rejuvenation. Let me address them:

Immune system activator. Several scientific studies confirm noni juice has compounds that stimulate the immune system; inhibit growth of tumors (including cancerous tumors); inhibit the Epstein-Barr virus (so prominent in people with fibromyalgia); posses antibacterial activities [including E. Coli, Salmonella species, Staphylococcus aureus and Shigella (causing shingles)]. There have been anecdotal reports from doctors about stabilizing AIDS symptoms and reducing susceptibility to colds and flu.

Pain reliever. Noni juice has strong anti-pain activity, thus helping chronic back pain, arthritis, sprains, migraines, multiple sclerosis, toothaches and other painful conditions.

Gastro-intestinal healer. Due to improved enzyme activity and anti-inflammatory action, noni juice has helped numerous people with digestive disorders, including indigestion and gastric ulcers. Two years ago during my vacation I met a woman who testified that noni juice healed her friend’s Crohn’s disease.

Cell rejuvenator. Noni’s main activities are enzymatic. It activates a special protein-digesting enzyme that quickly removes dead tissue and stimulates new tissue growth and repair. Thanks to these properties it is an effective treatment for all types of traumatic injuries and wounds (including burns), a great anti-aging supplement and an overall body tonic.

Other health problems relieved by noni juice. The list of health problems this juice helps is impressive and long. Some of them are high blood pressure, infections, kidney and bladder problems, menstrual cramps, mental depression, addictions, parasites, respiratory problems (including asthma), sleep disturbances and toxic blood. Also, noni rejuvenates the glandular system, beginning with the pineal gland where serotonin and melatonin are produced. It improves the thyroid and thymus functions. It has pancreas restorative abilities, thus improving blood sugar irregularities, hypoglycemia and type II diabetes.

How to use noni juice. Depending on the severity of your problem, take from two tablespoons daily (at least 30 minutes before breakfast) up to one quart a day (one cup on empty stomach four times a day). Drinking the juice on an empty stomach allows the proper activation of enzymes. Noni is also available in a capsulated form, containing root and leaves in addition to fruit. Take as directed on the label. Allow six to eight weeks to see the results. Purchase a product from a reputable source.

My client’s testimonial prompted my further studies about an old plant and—as a consequence—many people have been helped who otherwise, would not have been. If you have a healing story to tell, please share with others; let them know what improved your well-being. People trust when they sense somebody else’s enthusiasm and see the results with their own eyes. You may be able to bring new hope to somebody in pain.

You may purchase the following products at wholesale at
Nature’s Noni juice 16 fl. oz. (stock number 4066-7)
Nature’s Noni juice 2-32 fl. oz. (stock number 4042-7)
Nature’s Noni capsules (stock number 456-5)

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